Teen jewelry chain files for bankruptcy

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Claire’s, a mall-based jewelry and accessories retail chain, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 19.

Claire’s operates 7,500 stores — including its Icing brand — worldwide. Columbia Center mall in Kennewick has both Claire’s and Icing stores.

The company, which was founded in 1961, plans to reduce its debt by $1.9 billion by September through a restructuring process. It held $2.1 billion in debt at the end of 2017.

“This transaction substantially reduces the debt on our balance sheet and will enhance our efforts to provide the best possible experience for our customers,” said Ron Marshall, Claire’s chief executive officer, in a release. “We will complete this process as a healthier, more profitable company, which will position us to be an even stronger business partner for our suppliers, concessions partners, and franchisees.”

Claire’s did not disclose if it would shutter any of its own shops but noted plans to increase the number of other retailers it sells its branded products at by 4,000 this year.

“The company’s management is confident that, through the restructuring process, Claire’s will cement its position as one of the world’s leading specialty retailers of fashionable jewelry, accessories, and beauty products for young women, teens, ‘tweens’ and kids for many years to come,” according to a news release.